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How To Lower Cholesterol Through Your Diet

May 28, 2008
Many people believe that young generation's focus on diet as a fashion statement is the reason for the trend in reducing cholesterol in diet. However this is not the entire truth. Reducing the cholesterol levels in the body affects not just the looks but also the health of a person. Beyond a certain level, cholesterol can cause many complciations and illnesses that can even lead to death.

Hypertension, heart disease and diabetes come immediately to the mind. This is more true in cases of middle aged and old people in whose bodies the digestive system and other processes have already slowed down and less fats are converted to energy. This is the basic reason why most older people, especially who are over weight are advised by the doctors to reduce intake of cholesterol rich foods.

What is cholesterol?

Every one talks about cholesterol. But do they understand what it is and how it affects the body? The ever increasing news of heart cases in the country have made cholesterol as the overnight antagonist - the enemy number one. No wonder everyone considers cholesterol as bad.

It is important to understand that not all cholesterol is bad for a human body. The fact is, cholesterol is required to make bile salts in the body. It also maintains harmonal balances and assists in production of Vitamin D. The trouble happens when the levels rise beyond acceptable limits and cholesterol clogs the arteries, literally choking the flow of blood from the heart to the various parts of the body.

Cholesterol is of two kinds, the good and the bad. The Low Density Lipoproteins, LDL is the bad kind, sticks to the walls of the arteries, forms plaque that blocks the flow of blood. This kind of cholesterol is found in saturated fats and trans fatty acids. The packaged food like potato snacks and canned foods contain these type of fats.

The good cholesterol, the HDL can counter this and reduce the LDL levels. Simply put, it picks up the LDL from the arterial walls and deposits into the liver from where it is removed from the body. The HDL variety can be found in nuts and seafood - specially the fish.

Fruits are the next important food for reducing LDL levels in the body because they contain fiber. Oats, cereals, and legumes are other important sources of fiber that can arrest the increase in the level of LDL cholesterol thereby reducing the chances of cloggin of blood vessels and hence risk of heart disease.

Factors that affect cholesterol levels

Diet is but one factor that influences the cholesterol levels in human body. There are many other factors that affect the rise and fall of cholesterol in the blood. Age and gender also affect this. Because the metabolic rate decreases with age, the older people are more prone to increased levels of cholesterol. Physical activity is also another determinant. Exercise contributes effectively to the process of lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol, the main culprit in causing health challenges. Apart from this, exercise also strengthens and tones the muscles, making a person look more fit and trim.

Lowering cholesterol levels

From reading the above a person can get an impression that is is fairly simple and easy to lower the body's cholesterol levels. However one must remember that it takes a lot of discipline to follow the diet and exercise regimen. The mantra is to eat just right, exercise on a regular basis, stay away from canned and pre-packed foods and you can be reaching your goal of lower bad cholesterol levels in the body and become healthy once again.
About the Author
Francisco Faulkner is the professional freelance writer. He's also the webmaster of Owxer.com
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